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In the deer park of Sarnath Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and Sarnath is the place where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Sarnath is at a distance of 10km from Varanasi.
Sarnath is also known as Mrigadava, Migadaya, Rishipattana, Isipatana.
The Emperor Ashoka, who spread Lord Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, visited Sarnath around 234 BC, and erected a stupa here. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail.
Chaukhandi Stupa issaidto be built by Emperor Ashoka. It is the first monument seen by the people when they enter Sarnath.
It is a lofty mound of brick - work whose square edifice is surrounded by a Octagonal tower.
Dhamek Stupa is the most remarkable structure at Sarnath. It is cylindrical in shape with, 28 mts. in diameter at the base and 43.6 mts. in height. The Dhamek Stupa is built party of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is the modern temple erected by the Mahabodhi Society. The temple was made by Kosetsu Nosu, Japan’s foremost painter and a rich repository of Buddhist literature. The ancient Mulagandha Kuti Temple is among the brick ruins of Sarnath.
Sarnath Museum has a rich collection of Buddhist sculptures comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images.
The other places of Interest at Sarnath are the Dharmrajika Stupa, magnificent Lion capital, India’s National Emblem at Sarnath Museum, the Saddharmachakra Vihar’s at excavated ruins.
How to Reach
By Air : The nearest airport is Babatpur : 30 Km.
By Rail : Sarnath is directly connected by Varanasi - Gorakhpur Exp. 0549/0550 and Varanasi - Bhatni - Varanasi Exp. 0551/0552.
By Road : Sarnath, is 10 - km from Varanasi, and is well connected by road to other destinations of the state.